Silos have their use – if you’re a farmer – but you don’t want them in your channel. The more obstacles between vendors, partners and their marketing teams, the less productive the channel. Anything that prevents information flow between these three parties is essentially blocking revenue.
Creating an Information Hub
When you have one place where all three parties can input, update and find critical information, strategies and tactics for increasing sales within your channel become more apparent to everyone.
Your partner portal should be that place. It’s where vendors, partners and their respective marketing organizations have access to real-time information like:
- What deals are in the system?
- What leads have been passed?
- What’s within this plan?
- What is the availability of the market development funds?
With all three teams on the same page, everyone can have productive conversations about a number of different things:
For the vendor, this means the information needed to determine:
- Is this a good partner?
- Do we want to work on marketing programs with this partner?
- What resources do we want to make available to them?
Marketing teams can figure out:
- Which campaigns/products are best suited to which vendors?
- Which of the leads entered in the deal registration module are most likely to lead to deals?
- How much budget is available for launching campaigns to reach them?
The portal provides a central area for all of the key players in the channel to come together and create a plan to maximize their sales in a particular region, for a particular month or quarter.
It’s where everyone can log in and quickly see what’s going on with this partner or that sales person. It can reduce the frustration of trying to schedule calls or get email responses from a bunch of busy people.
Seeing Up and Down the Pipeline
If the vendor isn’t providing a portal, they’re not providing the visibility that would help their partners strategize better and sell more. They’re actually inhibiting their partners because critical information and sales resources are walled-in, with partners waiting on a response from the vendor. Aside from that, crucial info about the products customers are buying is not freely flowing back from the partner.
Maybe one of your partners is a larger re-seller. They have people in Boston, Seattle and Dallas, and probably have three different sales people at the vendor working in each of those three cities. With access to a portal, everyone can see how the others are doing. You may notice, for example, that more of your product is selling in Portland, even though it’s a smaller market. Eliminating silos and getting that info flowing has the added benefit of prompting questions like, “How can we repeat that success in our other markets?”
It is critical to understand the importance of a customizable partner portal within an overall channel management organization. Leveraging a PRM with such features will help your indirect sales channel boost sales and focus resources appropriately.